- Home-run totals are out for all the heavy hitters in the 60-game MLB season
- The NY Mets’ Pete Alonso currently has the highest total at 18.5, two more than any other player
- We explore some value plays for the 2020 MLB season
In a few weeks, Major League Baseball will be back in full swing, and you know what that means …
Home runs. Long-balls. DINGERS!
With MLB set to officially start its 60-game 2020 season on July 23, the heavy hitters of summer will be back. Home run totals won’t be quite as lofty as years past, but there will be plenty of round-trippers regardless. Sportsbooks have now posted home-run total over/unders for basically every power hitter in the league.
2020 Home Run Over/Unders
|Player, Team||Home Run Total & Odds||FanGraphs Steamer Projected HRs|
|Pete Alonso, NYM||18.5 (-115 O/-115 U)||16|
|Cody Bellinger, LAD||16.5 (-115 O/-115 U)||15|
|Yordan Alvarez, HOU||16.5 (-120 O / -110 U)||13|
|Christian Yelich, MIL||15.5 (-125 O/ -105 U)||13|
|Fernando Tatis Jr, SD||15.5 (-125 O/ -105 U)||11|
|Mike Trout, LAA||14.5 (-115 O/-115 U)||16|
|Ronald Acuna Jr, ATL||14.5 (-115 O/-115 U)||14|
|Joey Gallo, TEX||14.5 (-115 O/-115 U)||14|
|Eugenio Suarez, CIN||14.5 (-115 O/-115 U)||11|
|Giancarlo Stanton, NYY||14.0 (-115 O/-115 U)||16|
|Miguel Sano, MIN||14.0 (-115 O/-115 U)||10|
|Nelson Cruz, MIN||14.0 (-115 O/-115 U)||14|
|Rhys Hoskins, PHI||13.5 (-120 O/-110 U)||13|
|Aaron Judge, NYY||13.5 (-115 O/-115 U)||13|
|Gleyber Torres, NYY||13.5 (-125 O/-105 U)||13|
|Eloy Jimenez, CHW||13.5 (-115 O/-115 U)||10|
|Bryce Harper, PHI||12.5 (-130 O/+100 U)||15|
|Gary Sanchez, NYY||12.5 (-115 O/-115 U)||9|
|Josh Donaldson, MIN||12.5 (-125 O/-105 U)||13|
|Juan Soto, WSH||12.5 (-125 O/-105 U)||13|
|Austin Meadows, TB||12.5 (-115 O/-115 U)||10|
|Kyle Schwarber, CHC||12.5 (-115 O/-115 U)||12|
|Edwin Encarnacion, CHW||12.5 (-115 O/-115 U)||10|
|JD Martinez, BOS||12.5 (-115 O/-115 U)||14|
|Nolan Arenado, COL||12.5 (-115 O/-115 U)||14|
|Francisco Lindor, CLE||12.0 (-115 O/-115 U)||13|
|Josh Bell, PIT||11.5 (-115 O/-115 U)||10|
|Manny Machado, SD||11.5 (-115 O/-115 U)||14|
|Paul Goldschmidt, STL||11.5 (-115 O/-115 U)||11|
|Kris Bryant, CHC||11.5 (-115 O/-115 U)||11|
|Rafael Devers, BOS||11.5 (-115 O/-115 U)||12|
|Freddie Freeman, ATL||11.5 (-115 O/-115 U)||11|
|Alex Bregman, HOU||11.5 (-115 O/-115 U)||12|
|Mookie Betts, LAD||11.0 (-115 O/-115 U)||11|
|Anthony Rizzo, CHC||10.5 (-115 O/-115 U)||12|
|Javier Baez, CHC||10.5 (-115 O/-115 U)||12|
|Anthony Rendon, LAA||9.5 (-115 O/-115 U)||10|
|Vladimir Guerrero Jr, TOR||8.5 (-120 O/-110 U)||9|
Odds as of July 8th.
When you line these up next to the 2020 MVP Odds, you’ll notice that Christian Yelich is the only MVP candidate favored to dominate in home runs. Pete Alonso doesn’t currently sit among the top five, while Cody Bellinger has slid to fifth.
In the AL, Mike Trout is the runaway leader for MVP, but his home-run total sits two behind Yordan Alvarez. Alvarez currently sits at +4000 on the AL MVP board.
COVID-19 Concerns Mean Stay Away from Gallo, Freeman Overs
As news of positive COVID-19 tests among MLB players have started to make the rounds, two prominent names have stood out: Freddie Freeman of the Atlanta Braves and Joey Gallo of the Texas Rangers.
While the recovery timeline is different for everyone, the virus seems to have hit Freeman hard.
Gallo, meanwhile, has tested positive twice and negative twice. So there’s some confusion surrounding his situation.
While the slugger seems asymptomatic, he still has yet to join the Rangers for workouts.
If Gallo’s season starts on time, he’ll be playing catch-up to the rest of the league. For Freeman, his status is much more murky. The home run overs will be tough to achieve in either case.
What to do with Fernando Tatis Jr?
At first glance, it might be surprising to see Tatis Jr tied for the third-highest total.
But based on Baseball Reference’s simulated stats and Tatis’ 2019 season, maybe it shouldn’t be so shocking.
Fernando Tatis Jr Home Run Rate
For an even deeper comparison, his HR/Game across the minors from 2016-18 was 0.153, which equals 9.2 home runs over 60 games.
As I said in our case for his NL MVP candidacy, health is the great equalizer with Tatis Jr. There’s a lot to like in the MVP race, but the under is the play here.
Expect Plenty of Home Runs from Harper, Guerrero Jr
While it may take a significant investment, both Bryce Harper and Vladimir Guerrero Jr should hit pay dirt with their overs.
With Harper’s O/U set at 12.5, his HR/G since 2015 paint a favorable picture. His home-run rate over four of the last five seasons have him hitting the over in a full 60 games. The universal DH should help keeps his at-bats up in a shortened season.
For Guerrero Jr, we know the home-run power is there. As a 20-year old with just 464 at-bats, Guerrero was 107th in average exit velocity, and 113th in barrels with 29. Not groundbreaking, but it’s close to Juan Soto’s rookie year.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr Pre and Post All-Star Break
While the home-run total isn’t eye-popping post-All Star break, keep in mind that includes zero September home runs in 82 September at-bats.
But all of Guerrero Jr’s other numbers were up.
So long as he gets off to a hot start, we’ll pair Vladdy Jr with Harper as two candidates to go over their totals this summer.